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Hepatic cirrhosis

Hepatic cirrhosis Hepatic cirrhosis
26 Aug 2020 07.52PM

You will know what the liver cirrhosis disease consists of, its consequences, causes, diagnosis, symptoms, treatment and how it can be prevented.

Do you know what liver cirrhosis is?

Liver cirrhosis or cirrhosis of the liver is a disease characterized by the formation of scar tissue in the liver (fibrosis). As a consequence, liver functions begin to decline, as scar tissue affects blood flow and the liver's ability to process, for example, drugs, hormones, natural toxins; at the same time that it affects the production of proteins and other substances.

It is a disease that progresses slowly and although there is no cure, there are several treatment options to provide a slower progression of its complications.

What causes liver cirrhosis?

It can be caused by several factors, usually long-term viral infections such as hepatitis B and C, as well as diabetes and alcohol abuse, which cause a fatty liver. Essentially, any condition or factor causing liver damage can lead to cirrhosis, as well as inherited or autoimmune diseases.

How can liver cirrhosis be diagnosed?

A physical exam can determine how the liver feels, since a cirrhotic liver may show an irregular shape instead of a smooth one. A CT scan or ultrasound can be used to view the liver, as well as a biopsy (a sample of liver tissue) to confirm. Through blood tests, liver disease can also be diagnosed.

What are the symptoms experienced?

Symptoms may vary depending on the stage of liver cirrhosis. These include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Bruises.
  • Fever.
  • Sudden weight fluctuations.
  • Jaundice.
  • Bloody and / or light colored stools.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • State of mental confusion.
  • Fluid retention, an early sign that produces inflammation of the ankles, legs or ascites (fluid retention in the abdomen).

What is the treatment for liver cirrhosis?

Although there is no cure for this disease, treatment can delay its progression by reducing complications. The medications used specifically target the symptoms of liver cirrhosis, drugs are also used to treat other conditions that may be causing cirrhosis in the first place.

On the other hand, excess fluid and edema are generally treated with diuretics; While a low-salt diet is recommended for ascites, it may also require a medical procedure to drain excess abdominal fluid.

In this order of ideas it is important to explain that cirrhosis can cause complications in advanced stages of the disease, such as a confused mental state (caused by excess toxins that the liver does not process properly and can lead to coma). Medications used to treat the confused mental state include laxatives, which are often prescribed with the goal of absorbing toxins, as well as other medications and a specific diet.

Bleeding from varicose veins (mainly in the esophagus) can also be a complication, as the vein from the digestive organs to the liver becomes enlarged due to increased tension. This generally occurs because cirrhosis can cause a blockage of blood flow, leading to an enlargement of this vein, possibly causing bleeding.

Additionally, cirrhosis can lead to diabetes, kidney failure, loss of muscle mass, and increased risk of infection. It should be mentioned that if alcohol consumption is part of the cause, it should be stopped as part of the treatment.

It is also important to point out that a liver transplant is the last option, if the medications stop improving the symptoms and complications caused by liver cirrhosis.

How can liver cirrhosis be prevented?

To achieve adequate prevention, it is important to know which foods are prohibited for cirrhosis. In general, alcohol consumption should be limited, in addition to a healthy diet, low in fat, avoiding frying, coupled with regular medical controls. Which also turns out to be useful to control cholesterol levels and, in this way, prevent liver cirrhosis. At the same time, the prevention of other conditions (such as hepatitis) plays an important role. In this sense, the use of protection during sexual intercourse is recommended, as well as vaccination against infection with hepatitis B.

The healthy diet and medical control play an important role in the prevention of the disease.


Eugenia Jiménez Alvarez, editor
Coordination assistant Fundahigado América
Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences

Daniela Malavé, edition